WetFly Kodomo Creek Tenkara Flex

Tony K

Photos by Wild Human

Searching the fly fishing world for the best way to teach my three-year-old to throw a fly ultimately brought me to Tenkara and quickly turned into an obsession. WetFly’s telescoping Komodo Flex Tenkara rod has a medium/light action and extends from 8’10” up to 9’9” and 10’ 6”. A telescoping rod means it can grow to fit anglers of any size and can be expanded for different fish and water.

Tenkara is a simple form of fly fishing born in the mountain streams of Japan hundreds of years ago. A long rod with a fixed length of line, tippet, and a fly, reduces weight and removes some of the intricacies of conventional fly fishing. The result is a close and intimate fishing experience that’s perfect for smaller fish and water, although there are opportunities for bigger fish for skilled anglers. It has been a perfect starter rod for my small human.

“If it’s just about fishing, then you are missing the point of what fly fishing is all about.”

Tenkara in the U.S. has seen exciting growth in the last several years as interest in this simple form of fishing continues to build. While there are similarities between Tenkara fishing and more common rod and reel fly fishing, Tenkara’s minimalist approach, and basic techniques put anglers closer to fish and rely more on skill than gear to land fish.

The specs

WetFly’s Komodo Creek Flex rod comes in a durable aluminum rod tube and collapses down to just 23 inches and weighs 9.5 ounces without the line attached. That’s a small enough package to stash in your pack or car.

One of my least favorite parts of fly fishing is setup and take-down of my rods, but the Komodo Flex can be expanded and fishing in less than a minute. How’s that for instant gratification?

There are several line types and lengths for different Tenkara applications but the Komodo Flex kit comes with a 12-foot floating line that works well on the small Puget Sound rivers and lakes that we used for our testing.

How does it perform?

Landing a fish on WetFly Tenkara rod

We primarily use the Komodo rod for small trout and panfish, and I’ve come to prefer it over my lightweight fly fishing rods. The rod is light and responsive at all three lengths. The Komodo forces me to pay attention to drag and presentation and that translates back to all of my heavier rods and reels.

Fully extended at 10’ 6”, the rod has plenty of backbone for larger fish and bigger water, while the shorter lengths help when accurate and delicate presentations are a must.

Holding a small wild cutthroat trout caught on a Tenkara rod

What can be improved

My experience with the Komodo has been fantastic, however, there is one issue that has caused some delays when getting setup – the thin tip section of the rod, the piece that’s connected to the lilian, sometimes gets stuck in the lower sections of the rod. To fix this, I either have to unscrew the bottom cap on the handle and carefully push the tip back through or leave a small portion of the lilian hanging out when I cap the rod. This isn’t a deal-breaker, but it is inconvenient.

The Bottom Line

At $150 the WetFly Komodo Flex is affordable and easy to use whether you’re just entering the world of fly fishing or you’re a seasoned angler. The rod telescopes to three different lengths which means you can reach farther and adapt to different situations. The shortest length, 8’10” is proving to be a great length for my three and a half-year-old to learn on.

Tenkara is part of the fly fishing universe but it provides an intimate and minimalist approach to what can be a gear heavy activity. It can also be a less intimidating way to introduce kids into the sport. A fixed length of line, no reel, and small flies means less to manage. If you love fishing, or just don’t want to drop hundreds of dollars on a rod and reel, consider the Komodo Flex.

Why Wild Human Supports WetFly

Fly fishing has a reputation for being expensive to get into, but it doesn’t have to be. Although Sage rods cast like a dream, you won’t catch more fish just because you have a $900 rig. 

Seattle based WetFly has built a solid reputation for providing quality and affordable fly gear. That means more people have access to gear that they can fish on for years. That’s a good thing for fish and anglers. Beyond the gear, WetFly also partners with organizations like Big City Mountaineers, which helps young people build life skills while in the outdoors. 

As WetFly founder and owner Don Fitzwater says, “If it’s just about fishing, then you are missing the point of what fly fishing is all about.”

Check out the Komo Creek Flex Tenkara Rod


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